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Newsletter no 9 - Land grabbing

Wednesday 2 April 2014, by Manu

“How firm we stand and plant our feet upon our land determines
the strength of our children’s heartbeats.”

Poolly Koutchak, Unalakleet, Alaska

This April the World Bank is organizing again its annual conference on land and poverty.
It is a big event gathering international bureaucracy, government representatives, mainstream
academics, few big NGOs and the private sector. Under the title Land governance
in a rapidly changing environment they will discuss, among other issues, how to deal with
the governance challenges raised by large agricultural investments. In plain language,
how to continue the appropriation of peoples’ lands and waters by private investors
while pretending to help the poor. Also in April the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) will hold a consultation process about the best use of natural resources for boosting
living standards in developing countries. The IMF seeks to reassess its policy advice
on the use of natural resources in development due to the growing importance of natural
resources in many economies. Despite disastrous consequences, the International
Financial Institutions (IFI) continue exercising a de facto ruling role in the international
governance of land and natural resources. This role is profoundly illegitimate. A small
group of rich countries defending the particular interests of business and finance together
with their technocrats think they can decide over our lands and territories.
But this ruling role started to be challenged: Last 9 of March, the Committee on
World Food Security (CFS) completed the intergovernmental negotiations of the FAO
Voluntary Guidelines on the Tenure of Land Fisheries and Forests in the context of
National Food Security. With the successful completion of these negotiations after a
participatory process lasting nearly three years, the CFS has shown that it has the
capacity to convene multilateral negotiations with broad social participation to discuss
and propose solutions to one of the most pressing problems of our time. The Guidelines
contain valuable points that will provide backing to organisations in their struggle to
ensure the care and use of natural resources in order to produce more nourishing food,
so helping to eliminate hunger by addressing its root causes. The CFS is a new international
space with more democratic rules that allows people’s organisations to challenge
the IFI’s recipes and ruling. This is a first step to democratize the decision making
processes related to food and agriculture at the international level.
April is also the month of the international peasant struggle. La Via Campesina
has called on all of its members and allies, fisher-folk movements, agricultural workers
organisations, environmental groups, women organisations and social justice movements
to display massive popular resistance to land grabbing, to corporate control over land and
natural resources and to defend small-scale, family based agriculture and food production
as the most socially, economically and environmentally sustainable model of using
resources and ensuring the right to food for all.
Let’s take action!
Sofia Monsalve, FIAN International

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Nyéléni newsletter no 9

- Land grabbing